Seeing the light: NASA’s solar powered mission to Jupiter

This month NASA’s JUNO spacecraft became the farthest solar powered spacecraft from the Sun.

Launched in August of 2011, JUNO used a gravity assist from Earth in October 2013 to develop sufficient momentum to glide to Jupiter.

JUNO’s on board power comes from three solar panels:

Quoting NASA:

“Engineers designed Juno with three massive solar panels, each nearly 30 feet long. Combined, they provide Juno with 49.7 m2 of active solar cells. Once it reaches Jupiter, Juno will generate more than 400 watts of power, which may not sound like a lot, but it’s an impressive feat at so great a distance. For comparison, Juno’s solar panels can generate about 14 kilowatts near Earth, enough to power the average American home for a year.”
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